Gayle Hawney Krona
Shoreline HS class of 1973
UW Class of 1978

I competed in HS (Shoreline) and college (UW) gymnastics from 1970 thru 1978 during what was truly a magical time in this sport. I had the pleasure of meeting the great George Lewis at Gymnastics Inc. during that time and have wondered all these years what ever became of him (when did he stop coaching?).

It has been fascinating to see the transformation of women's gymnastics at the collegiate level after the effects of Title IX became evident. I was at the UW at a time when we had no locker room and it was revolutionary that we were allowed to use the training room! We set up and broke down the equipment ourselves before and after meets and might be there until midnite hauling the uneven bars and mats back upstairs to the practice gym in Hec Ed. Scholarships almost nonexistant (more like small stipends). In spite of the limitations those were good times and I wouldn't trade the memories or experiences for anything.

It's amazing the talent that came out of Seattle for women's gymnastics in the 60's and 70's. I remember first hand Joyce Tanac (she went to my high school a few years ahead of me), Cleo Carver (another Shoreline alum), Debblie Halle, Laurel Anderson, Janette Boyd and many more. These athletes were something special no doubt but I truly believe it was George Lewis who got them to the top. He was not only an amazing coach but a sterling individual.

Those were magical times for the sport of gymnastics in Washington and I have nothing but good memories of it all. I unfortunately have only a few old pictures from the UW team: it seemed no one thought to take photos at our HS or UW meets back then (no cellphones with cameras at the time that's for sure!)

Our coach at the UW when I was there was Dale Shirley. I last spoke to him about 5 years ago at a UW alumni meet and I don't think he's coaching at all anymore.

George Lewis. He was really someone special. I first met him around 1971 at the old Seattle YMCA in downtown. I was on the Shoreline HS team at the time and the Y used to put on various gymnastic clinics to raise money for their gymnastic program. George was teaching a compulsory routine clinic and couldn't have been nicer or more helpful. Many of his star gymnasts were there that day including Debbie Halle, Cleo Carver and Laurel Anderson. I dropped in with friends who worked out at the Y a few more times during HS but didn't really get to know George until after I graduated from HS in 1973. At that time he started Gymnastics Inc. which was located in the Seattle Pacific University gym on lower Queen Anne. My younger sister and I (she also a UW gymnast a few years after me) worked out there several days a week in the mid to late 1970's. What a revelation!
George not only helped coach the SPU college team but also the elite Gymnastic Inc. club gymnasts and helped with many of the classes attended by all-comers like my sister and I. At the same time he was teaching watch repair classes at North Seattle Community college. He had boundless energy and seemed to be everywhere at once.

I'm not sure whatever happened to Gymnastics Inc. I lost touch with the gymnastic community after my younger sister graduated in 1984. That was probably around the last time I saw George Lewis and I never heard what became of him. To this day I think he was the finest coach and one of the finest individuals I ever met.